31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel
    or a land of great darkness?(A)
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
    we will come to you no more’?(B)
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
    a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten(C) me,
    days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing(D) love!
    Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
    the lifeblood(E) of the innocent poor,
    though you did not catch them breaking in.(F)
Yet in spite of all this
35     you say, ‘I am innocent;(G)
    he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment(H) on you
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’(I)
36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing(J) your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt(K)
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,(L)
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped(M) by them.

“If a man divorces(N) his wife
    and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
    Would not the land be completely defiled?(O)
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers(P)
    would you now return to me?”(Q)
declares the Lord.
“Look up to the barren heights(R) and see.
    Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
By the roadside(S) you sat waiting for lovers,
    sat like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land(T)
    with your prostitution(U) and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,(V)
    and no spring rains(W) have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen(X) look of a prostitute;
    you refuse to blush with shame.(Y)
Have you not just called to me:
    ‘My Father,(Z) my friend from my youth,(AA)
will you always be angry?(AB)
    Will your wrath continue forever?’
This is how you talk,
    but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel

During the reign of King Josiah,(AC) the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless(AD) Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree(AE) and has committed adultery(AF) there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister(AG) Judah saw it.(AH) I gave faithless Israel(AI) her certificate of divorce(AJ) and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;(AK) she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land(AL) and committed adultery(AM) with stone(AN) and wood.(AO) 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return(AP) to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,(AQ)” declares the Lord.(AR)

11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous(AS) than unfaithful(AT) Judah.(AU) 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:(AV)

“‘Return,(AW) faithless(AX) Israel,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’(AY) declares the Lord,
    ‘I will not be angry(AZ) forever.
13 Only acknowledge(BA) your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods(BB)
    under every spreading tree,(BC)
    and have not obeyed(BD) me,’”
declares the Lord.

14 “Return,(BE) faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.(BF) I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds(BG) after my own heart,(BH) who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark(BI) of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered;(BJ) it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne(BK) of the Lord, and all nations(BL) will gather in Jerusalem to honor(BM) the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(BN) 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel,(BO) and together(BP) they will come from a northern(BQ) land to the land(BR) I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19 “I myself said,

“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
    and give you a pleasant land,(BS)
    the most beautiful inheritance(BT) of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’(BU)
    and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
    so you, Israel, have been unfaithful(BV) to me,”
declares the Lord.

21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,(BW)
    the weeping(BX) and pleading of the people of Israel,
because they have perverted their ways
    and have forgotten(BY) the Lord their God.

22 “Return,(BZ) faithless people;
    I will cure(CA) you of backsliding.”(CB)

“Yes, we will come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God.
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills(CC)
    and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God
    is the salvation(CD) of Israel.
24 From our youth shameful(CE) gods have consumed
    the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
    their sons and daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame,(CF)
    and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned(CG) against the Lord our God,
    both we and our ancestors;(CH)
from our youth(CI) till this day
    we have not obeyed(CJ) the Lord our God.”

“If you, Israel, will return,(CK)
    then return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols(CL) out of my sight
    and no longer go astray,
and if in a truthful, just and righteous way
    you swear,(CM) ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(CN)
then the nations will invoke blessings(CO) by him
    and in him they will boast.(CP)

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Break up your unplowed ground(CQ)
    and do not sow among thorns.(CR)
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
    circumcise your hearts,(CS)
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath(CT) will flare up and burn like fire(CU)
    because of the evil(CV) you have done—
    burn with no one to quench(CW) it.

Disaster From the North

“Announce in Judah and proclaim(CX) in Jerusalem and say:
    ‘Sound the trumpet(CY) throughout the land!’
Cry aloud and say:
    ‘Gather together!
    Let us flee to the fortified cities!’(CZ)
Raise the signal(DA) to go to Zion!
    Flee for safety without delay!
For I am bringing disaster(DB) from the north,(DC)
    even terrible destruction.”

A lion(DD) has come out of his lair;(DE)
    a destroyer(DF) of nations has set out.
He has left his place
    to lay waste(DG) your land.
Your towns will lie in ruins(DH)
    without inhabitant.
So put on sackcloth,(DI)
    lament(DJ) and wail,
for the fierce anger(DK) of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “the king and the officials will lose heart,(DL)
the priests will be horrified,
    and the prophets will be appalled.”(DM)

10 Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! How completely you have deceived(DN) this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’(DO) when the sword is at our throats!”

11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind(DP) from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind(DQ) too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments(DR) against them.”

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,(DS)
    his chariots(DT) come like a whirlwind,(DU)
his horses(DV) are swifter than eagles.(DW)
    Woe to us! We are ruined!(DX)
14 Jerusalem, wash(DY) the evil from your heart and be saved.(DZ)
    How long(EA) will you harbor wicked thoughts?
15 A voice is announcing from Dan,(EB)
    proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.(EC)
16 “Tell this to the nations,
    proclaim concerning Jerusalem:
‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land,(ED)
    raising a war cry(EE) against the cities of Judah.(EF)
17 They surround(EG) her like men guarding a field,
    because she has rebelled(EH) against me,’”
declares the Lord.
18 “Your own conduct and actions(EI)
    have brought this on you.(EJ)
This is your punishment.
    How bitter(EK) it is!
    How it pierces to the heart!”

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